Houston, We Have Google MLS Listings

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With an ongoing lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice in the background, realtors have been under pressure to open their listings so online-only brokers can deliver them to prospective home buyers.

Google Base will be the destination for home listings in Houston and other markets, as a deal between the search advertising company and the Houston Association of Realtors became a reality.

Though Google has been approaching several multiple listing services (MLS), only Houston has accepted so far, according to a report on MSNBC. Names of other markets approached or negotiating on MLS with Google have not been disclosed.

While Houston is a respectable market, the real breakthrough will come when high-priced markets like New York or Silicon Valley make it into online listings. Real estate brokers fear losing substantial six percent commissions on multi-million dollar homes; obviously, consumers would benefit financially from competition.

That competition has not been without resistance from the National Association of Realtors. Although they made a change to their bylaws in 2005 regarding online listings, antitrust regulators at Justice were furious enough over brokers still being allowed to selectively exclude some listings that they brought a lawsuit against NAR.

The Google experiment with Houston realtors will be closely watched, especially with regards to referral fees. Realtors hate paying the likes of Lending Tree part of their commissions for referring customers to them, but Google must be receiving something in exchange for listing Houston homes.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Houston, We Have Google MLS Listings
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